Modification of Time-Sharing and Visitation
As children age and circumstances change, sometimes a modification of your time-sharing or visitation schedule becomes necessary and in the best interests of your children. As such, the parenting plan that you agreed to or that was ordered by the court, may be modified when a substantial and material change in circumstances has occurred. In the past, to warrant a modification, the alleged change had to also be “unanticipated,” but as of July 2023, Fla. Stat. § 61.13 was amended to eliminate this requirement.
Why Modify your Time-Sharing or Visitation Schedule?
When a time-sharing or visitation schedule is entered, the parties are often living under the most volatile of circumstances. Both parties are likely headed off in a new and uncertain direction, or entering into a paternity relationship with someone they may know little about. Under such stress, determining what is in the best interests of your children may be a difficult task. With that in mind, courts understand that circumstances change and that the modification process can be an important tool in protecting the best interests of your children.
Further, if the actions of the other parent are having a negative impact on the children, or if the other parent is not complying with the terms of the present time-sharing or visitation schedule, a modification may be appropriate.
What is a Substantial Change in Circumstances?
Whether a substantial change in circumstances has occurred in your case will depend on the specific facts of your case. For example, the fact that the other parent has a new girlfriend or boyfriend alone is most likely not enough for a modification of the parenting plan; however, it could be seen as a substantial change in circumstances to warrant a modification if the new girlfriend or boyfriend was recently released from prison after assaulting a child or if the other parent is struggling with alcoholism, drug addiction, or otherwise becomes unstable. Some of the most common changes in circumstances are related to relocation, the changing needs of the children, and the parents’ employment changes.
As of July 2023, if the parents of a child live more than 50 miles apart when the last order establishing time-sharing was entered and a parent subsequently moves to within 50 miles of the other parent, then that move may be considered a substantial and material change in circumstances for the purpose of modifying the time-sharing schedule.
Protect your Children Through Change
If you are concerned about the needs of your children and feel that a modification of your time-sharing or visitation schedule would be best, you should discuss your present circumstances with a Florida attorney experienced in Time-Sharing Modifications to determine if a modification is possible.
Revised: July 2023